Shortly before election day, voters go to the polls in record numbers in states where early personal voting has begun. Millions have already cast their absentee ballots, and experts suggest that this election cycle could see the highest turnout since 1908 if voter energy remains constant through November 3rd.
To cast a vote before or on election day, citizens generally need to be registered to vote in their state, although 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place that allow same-day registration. Elections in the United States are overseen by local governments and are governed by a decentralized system that complies with various local, state and federal laws.
Since election day is not a federal holiday, employees are not required to take time off work nationwide to vote, even though each state has its own laws. According to Ballotpedia, for the 2020 election cycle, 28 states are requiring employers to give workers time off to vote. The remaining 22 states – most of which do not offer universal voting via email – have no laws requiring it.
This shows that election-related rules are not always consistent from one state to the next and can be very confusing for those unfamiliar with the pros and cons of the voting process. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you go about your surveys.
Do not wear explicitly political clothing
Leave home any clothing and accessories that contain a candidate's name, slogan, or ballot paper. Most states have laws that prohibit “campaigning” or activities in support of a political candidate or political party near polling stations. Wearing a political shirt will therefore be interpreted as a political act and may prevent you from casting your vote that day.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, most states have restrictions on whether or not people can display signs, distribute campaign literature, or obtain votes within a certain distance from a polling station. It is illegal in Michigan to wear anything that "relates directly or indirectly to an election, candidate, or election issue". Some states have similarity clauses when it comes to displaying support for a candidate or their logo.
However, California has tried to distinguish between political slogans and campaign attempts, the Los Angeles Times reported. California voters can wear gear with broad political slogans as long as they don't specifically relate to a candidate.
"Examples of campaign slogans or slogans for political movements include:" Make America Great Again "(MAGA)," Black Lives Matter "(BLM)," Make America Great "(KAG)," Vote for Science "and" Build Back. " Better "" the guidelines dated September 28th from the California Election Department polling officer.
The Washington Post reported that some Georgia and Tennessee voters were told by election officials to wear Black Lives Matter clothing in order to vote early. A polled Georgian voter admitted that some people might view the Black Lives Matter slogan and movement as political, which he disapproved of. "People's lives are not political," he told the Post. And while electoral workers are expected to be impartial, there may be disagreements about what counts as "political" among those volunteers who have received only brief training.
Because Black Lives Matter doesn't reflect a specific party or candidate, a Tennessee county electoral commissioner says clothing is allowed in support of the slogan or movement. However, T-shirts with the Biden Harris logo or “Make America Great Again” are considered political. So leave them at home.
You should probably save the photos for later
Some states have laws against taking photos within or a certain distance from a polling station. This means that inline selfies or pictures of the ballot slip marked by a voter are not allowed. These laws are not often enforced, although imprisonment can give you a technical penalty or your vote can be disqualified for violating these rules. However, it is perfectly legal to take photos of an "I Voted" sticker or sealed ballot as long as you are not in a constituency or voting booth.
For example, Georgia and Illinois do not allow taking photos at polling stations, and some have bans on cameras or electronic recorders. Other states like Arkansas are more sloppy in using cell phones and cameras as long as a person doesn't take photos of flagged ballots or is generally disruptive. If you're curious about your state's "Ballot Selfie" law, CNN has released a handy, in-depth guide to the nuances of each state.
If the long lines in some constituencies are giving any clue as to what election day will be like, these considerations should be kept in mind so that you can cast your vote as smoothly as possible. Voting in America can be a long and arduous process even in the most advanced nations. Don't let a t-shirt or a casual photo stop you from exercising this right.
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